Clanwilliam (Western Cape)


Clanwilliam is in the Western Cape on the N7 between Citrusdal and Klawer

The town is the home of the Rooibos tea industry. Benjamin Ginsberg, a Russian Jew, is seen as the forefather of the industry, and was referred to as the Rooibos King. Ginsberg came from a family who had been in the tea industry in Europe for centuries. It was in 1904 that he first realized the potential of this ‘mountain tea’. He began by trading with the locals and then used his entrepreneurial talents to market the new tea. Ginsberg was on the first Rooibos Tea Board.

Clanwilliam also has two hotels, which were both owned by Jews: The Masonic (now the Clanwilliam) and The Criterion were both owned by Hymie Ginsberg.

The town has a very interesting and well-kept museum in the old jail, where the story of the Rooibos tea industry is related. The head-office of Rooibos Tea is also in Clanwilliam, and there too, one can find the story of the birth of this global industry.